The Black Tiger shrimp hatchery of the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) at Vallarpadam has set a target of producing 20 million disease-free high-health seeds annually.
The production will begin in two months. The seeds will be available for farmers from the hatchery.
The Black Tiger shrimp was the dominant species farmed across India till 2008. However, the farming witnessed a setback following the outbreak of white spot disease, which wiped out shrimp farming in large tracts of farmlands. The introduction of the species Vanami in 2009 and the history of disease had reduced the farming of the Tiger Shrimp to patches, sources said.
The Black Tiger is a preferred species for culture in the traditional farming systems of Kerala during the off-season of paddy cultivation. Farmers still prefer tiger shrimps for farming as they fetch at least 20% more price than Vanami in international markets. The MPEDA is planning to address the shortage of quality and disease-free seeds of the species, scientists said.
The hatchery is part of the Multi-species Aquaculture Complex that has come up at Vallarpadam. The Authority also has plans to produce fingerlings of a few commercially-important species, which are of high demand in overseas market. The species includes Asian seabass, pompano, cobia, Genetically Improved Farmed Tilapia and Mud crab, according to a MPEDA communique.
MPEDA chairman A. Jayathilak visited the complex on Thursday.
The production of tiger shrimp seeds will revive the Black Tiger shrimp farming after a gap of two decades. The farming of the shrimp is expected to bring good returns, as there is good demand in the international markets, especially in Japan and European Union.
The hatchery facility can be utilised for the seed production of other freshwater or marine fin fishes or shell fishes like seabass, cobia, pompano, grouper and scampi. A quarantine unit to collect the disease-free wild brood stock will be established soon.
Majority of the coastal waters in the west coast of the country and the back waters of Kerala and Goa are suitable for the cage culture of fishes. Moreover, the freshwater reservoirs are ideal to farm fast growing species like GIF tilapia, the pressnote said.